菲尔·科赫, 维滕贝格大学1999届毕业生, has spent years helping underserved communities through teaching, 剧院, 非营利组织, 和社区基金会. He credits his Wittenberg education with providing him the freedom and skills to explore his passions and career opportunities, and for setting him on the right track to serve vulnerable communities.
来自芝加哥, 伊利诺斯州, Koch graduated from Wittenberg with 剧院 and dance and elementary education majors. He spent the first seven years of his career as an elementary school teacher in Chicago and Pittsburgh public schools. His teaching experiences heightened his passion for social justice.
"I became extremely concerned that our schools were not meeting the social and emotional needs of these children and wondering how I [could] use my skills to help children that were dealing with the challenges of living in communities plagued with violence, 贫困, 和绝望,”他解释说.
在他在维滕贝格的时候, Koch was heavily involved in all aspects of the 剧院 department; he worked in the 剧院 scene shop, 在显示, 导演, 生产, ,跑灯. He even founded the Wittenberg Experimental Theatre organization with fellow alumnus Alex Beekman '99 to give students an outlet for their own productions and experimental pieces outside of mainstage productions. These experiences inspired him to address the social issues he was noticing in his community through 剧院. They also informed his work with local 剧院s and afterschool 剧院 programs for kids.
在教学, he made the transition to nonprofit work to focus on empowering youth and giving them the skills to improve their own communities. Drawing upon his 剧院 and arts experiences, he established programs to help youth use their voices to speak up about issues affecting them.
自2015年以来, he has spent time in community foundation work in Westmoreland County, 匹兹堡东, partnering with philanthropic donors to address injustices at a systemic level. 在他的角色, he helped connect donors with local community issues and provided grants to help with these issues.
最近, Koch was promoted to the role of vice president of policy and community impact at The Pittsburgh Foundation, one of the largest and oldest community foundations in the country. His central role is to explore ways to address community issues outside of grants and charitable giving.
“我的角色是建立其他的方式, to create community impact such as influencing public policy, 召开合作伙伴, 建立联盟, 吸引资产进入该地区, and creating impact investment opportunities,”他说.
Koch's drive to help vulnerable communities characterized his many roles at Wittenberg; he worked for the Union Board, 是1998年联合游行的关键人物吗, 促进校园内的社会公正, 担任社区中心志愿者, 和更多的.
"My faith has taught me that I must work to support the most vulnerable in our community,”科赫说, 终身路德. “这是我作为基督徒的使命. 通过教学, 在课外活动中支持青少年, 通过grantmaking计划, 通过支持公共政策, I continue to find ways to support people in our community. My faith and commitment to Lutheran doctrine support the backbone of my career."
Though his path has changed over the years from teacher to nonprofit leader to foundation executive, his primary goals have remained the same: to be a positive impact in the community and serve others.
"My liberal arts education has given me the freedom to explore and follow my life's calling, 支持葡京会app社区的每一个成员,”他说. “This has taken different forms over the past 22 years, and this is the beauty of a liberal arts education. 我没有被困在一条车道上. I was given the freedom to explore a variety of career paths that have supported my passion."
Koch also met and fell in love with his wife, Deanna Soltis Koch, 98年, at Wittenberg when they both worked as RAs in the same residence hall. They now reside in Pittsburgh with their three sons.